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EXERCISE & AGEING


UNTAPPED AN


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or the past 66 years, corporations around the world have profi ted from the baby boomer market.


And as baby boomers swell the ranks of the 810 million people aged 60 and over, their economic impact continues to be felt. According to UNFPA and HelpAge International, 30 years ago there were no ‘aged economies’ in which consumption by older people surpassed that of youth. In 2010, there were 23 aged economies, and by 2040 there will be 89.


An example of this can be found in the US, where the older market represents more than US$2.3tn in spending power (Age Wave). It’s 47 times richer than its younger counterpart (Pew Research Center), controls roughly 50 per cent of all discretionary income (Deloitte), and dominates 1,023 out of 1,083 categories in the consumer packaged goods industry alone (Nielsenwire). On paper there’s no reason to neglect this sector, and yet the health and fi tness industry consistently does so. So how can gyms do more for this lucrative, loyal audience? To address this question, the International Council on Active Aging


1 POPULATIONS


The older population is extremely diverse – whether in terms of ability, age, income, culture, sexual orientation. The fi rst step is to identify exactly who you want as members. Will it be highly functioning adults aged 55–70, with a high level of disposable income, for example? No matter how you answer this question, your answer to the next question is crucial to your success: how will you meet the expectations, wants, needs, dreams and desires of such different individuals? The answer to this is knowledge. Become a student of the older consumer and success is there for the taking.


Ageism and negative stereotypes of ageing will impede your success. To maximise the opportunity, you – and your staff – must embrace it and all it means to your business. The realities of ageing today are very different from the past, so leave old ways of thinking behind. Older adults are often invisible in society. Help


2 PERCEPTIONS


MARKET


Colin Milner, CEO of the ICAA, outlines nine principles of active ageing – guidelines for operators wanting to better cater for older people


(ICAA) has created Nine Principles of Active Ageing to guide operators.


In the US, grey market spending power tops $2.3tn


them feel valued and you will be seen as a business with their best interests at heart. This is a unique position that will bode well for your bottom line. An example: according to a 2002 study on behalf of Help the Aged, only 5 per cent of all advertising spend in the UK is targeted at the 35-plus market. How can you position your organisation’s marketing so older adults see themselves as a consumer of your services? The answer lies within two words: ‘ageless’ and ‘inclusive’. By becoming ageless and


OLDER ADULTS OFTEN FEEL INVISIBLE IN SOCIETY. BY BECOMING AGELESS AND INCLUSIVE, YOU’RE SAYING THAT YOU SEE THE OLDER CONSUMER – AND THEY WILL NOW SEE YOU


62 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital March 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


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